Number 278 Builders #39188 built 12/06, is one of 16 small
mogul (2-6-0) locomotives directed to the Alaska Engineering Commission
after completion of the Panama Canal. Number 278 was scrapped
in 1936. All the 200 class were Alco/Cooke built during 1906
for the Panama Canal Project. They weighed 138,400 lbs. and had 19X24
inch cylinders with 54 inch drivers. They retained the same
numbers on the Alaska Engineering Commission that they were issued in Panama.
Originally 5' gauge they were converted in Anchorage to 4'8 1/2" by installing
wider tires which allowed the flange to extend further inside the wheel.
They were rough riders when crossing grade crossings in the winter.
The 200 class locomotives along with a 70 ton and 45 ton steam shovel,
15 flat cars and 25 western dump cars had been received in Alaska by mid
summer 1915 on no charge transfer from the U. S. Canal Zone. The
entire 200 class of locomotives was transferred to the Alaska Railroad
inventory on completion of construction in 1923 and were scrapped by 1947.
There were seven larger 600 class moguls in service starting with #620
in April 1919. They were Alco/Brooks built in January 1906 also for
the Panama Canal Project. Weighing 158,200 pounds they had
20 X26 Cylinders and 63 inch drivers and exerted 3447 ton tractive effort.
All went to scrap at an unknown date, but there is a photo of 606 enroute
with a scrap train going to Whittier in 1947. She was not among
the 14 locomotives shipped from Whittier on the BELBETTY in January 1957.
You can see a Panama Mogul in service today on the Eureka Springs Railroad
inEureaka Springs, Arkansas. Watching her in steam is like
taking a trip back in Alaska time.
Photo taken in 1919.